Bengaluru, May 16 : A day after the Karnataka Assembly election results threw up a fractured mandate, Governor Vajubhai Wala remained in the spotlight on Wednesday as both the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress combine staked claim to form the new government.
The day witnessed hectic political developments, allegations and counter-allegations.
The Governor has not yet taken any decision and is expected to take a call soon after consultations with legal experts, Raj Bhavan sources said here.
During the day, the JD-S accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of horse trading by offering Rs 100 crore and Cabinet berths to its MLAs while outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dragged Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the matter, accusing him of “encouraging” horse trading, a charge rejected by the BJP.
The BJP, the single-largest party with 104 seats that fell eight seats short of the magic number, elected former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa as its legislative party leader. Its delegation later met the Governor to stake claim to form the new government.
“We have staked claim to form the government as the single largest party with 104 newly elected legislators,” Yeddyurappa told reporters after meeting the Governor.
“I have requested the Governor to allow me to take oath as the Chief Minister at the earliest. The Governor said he would take an appropriate decision soon,” he said.
Of the 222 constituencies where polling was held on May 12, the BJP won 104 seats while the Congress won 78 and the JD-S won 38 seats, along with its ally the Bahujan Samaj Party, throwing up a hung Assembly.
The BJP is eight short of the 112-halfway mark needed for a simple majority.
In a separate development, JD-S president Kumaraswamy was elected the leader of the legislature party at a JD-S meeting.
The JD-S along with Congress leaders later met the Governor to press their claim for government formation. The JD-S and the Congress leaders submitted a list of support of 117 MLAs.
State Congress President Parameshwara, after meeting the Governor, told reporters that Vala assured them he would act as per the Constitution, Supreme Court judgments and precedents.
On Tuesday, the Congress extended unconditional support to the JD-S.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of encouraging horse-trading to lure Congress and JD-S legislators.
“Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are supporting party leaders to poach legislators of our party and the JD-S, so as to prevent us from forming the new government,” Siddaramaiah told the media here.
Asserting that the Congress would not allow the BJP to form a government at any cost, Siddaramaiah said none of the Congress legislators were missing or likely to defect.
Kumaraswamy accused the BJP of offering Rs 100 crore and Cabinet posts to its newly elected legislators as a “desperate” attempt. “Our legislators have been offered Rs 100 crore and Cabinet seats by the BJP in return for support to form the government. Where are the Income Tax officials now?” the former Chief Minister asked at a press conference after the JD-S legislators’ meet.
The JD-S leader also named Modi and Shah for the alleged offers made by the BJP.
“This attempt by the BJP to poach our legislators will backfire as there are people who are willing to leave the BJP to support us (JD-S),” he claimed, adding that the JD-S and the Congress together had the required majority to form the government.
The BJP was quick to reject the charges. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “Rs 100 crore figure is imaginary… it is what the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular do politics with. We are going by the rules. We do not indulge in horse trading of any kind.”
“We are confident of forming a government. We have met the Governor and submitted our claim. We are very sure that we will form the government and a very stable one,” he said.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at Siddaramaiah for accusing Modi and Shah of encouraging horse trading, adding that government formation in Karnataka is the prerogative of the Governor.
“I will not make any comment on Karnataka government formation process, as it is solely the discretion of the Governor. He should take a call,” he told the media.
He said he had read in the media the “utterly irresponsible, misleading and malicious” comments by Siddaramaiah. “I deny all these baseless and unfounded allegations,” the Minister said.